1979 Manned Colors at Convention Center

     Bud Beveridge (Commander Chp 1979), Robert Suesakul (Adjutant Chp 1979) and Laurie Suesakul (Associate Member 1979) participated in the MOPH color guard.  Four other Veteran Service Organizations also attended with their colors.  
    The Argonne Band did an excellent job as usual by keeping up entertained and was on time and on key equal to any divisional band past and current.
    The Red Bull JROTC battalion did the posting and retirement of the colors.
    Honored Guest and Key Note speaker were Dan Gannon (Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs) and COL Jacobus (Director of Military Support Iowa NG) 
   At the end we were treated with Hillside Elementary School with their tribute to our Veterans past and present.
MOPH well represented at the Veterans Cemetary on Veterans Day

    It was great weather for the Veterans day Ceremony at the Iowa Veterans Cemetary and it was standing room only both inside and out of the committal shelter.
     Gen Timothy Orr (Adjutant General, Iowa NG) was the guest speaker.
     It ended with the Red Bull JROTC color guard of Central Campus retiring the colors.

The Wall that Heals 2016 in Urbandale

MOPH will be supporting "Team Welcome Home", as they bring "The Wall That Heals" to Des Moines. This 250-foot half scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be on display September 29 – October 2, 2016 on the Front Lawn of Living History Farms, Urbandale, IA. Children of all ages and families are welcome and encouraged to visit. The traveling replica is designed to bring The Wall’s healing legacy to communities across the U.S., and to those who have not had the chance, or the ability to visit the real structure in Washington DC. Since its debut in 1996, more than two million people have visited The Wall That Heals sites. It has made stops in nearly 400 U.S. communities.  Chapter 1979 manned a table in one of the tents.  Larry Spencer, Chp 777, was a guest speaker with Gov. Branstad on 28 Sep and on 30 Sep Robert Suesakul, Chp 1979, with Dan Gannon, DAV took the stage with Jackie Schmillen from from KCWI-TV. 

2016 CHALENG Conference

VA Central Iowa Health Care Sysem held their CHALENG on 26 Sep 2016 at the Polk County River Place.  MOPH was honored on being the only Veterans Organization represented at the conference.  Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) unites homeless service providers, advocates, Veterans and concerned citizens toward the goal of meeting the evolving needs of Veterans who are homeless.


Hwy 65 Harley Davidson Honors Veterans

17 Sep 2016
Harley Davidson 65 held a Veterans Appreciation Day which invited Congressman David Young to present the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Welcome Home Pin to our Vietnam era Veterans, BBQ was cooked on site with chairs and shade for all participants. Other groups that were on site were "the Wall that Heals", American Legion Riders Honor Guard, Patriot Riders, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, American Legion, Christian Motorcycle Association, Route 65 Harley Owners Group and MOPH Chp 1979. The ceremony concluded with a wreath being laid at Junior D.Edwards' (Medal of Honor recipient of the Korean War) grave site by Congressman Young, Thank you Route 65 Harley Davidson for sponsoring this great event.

Polk Co Veterans Stand-down

The rest of the nights were quiet.  We were honor to support this event and getting to know our Brothers and Sisters individually.  We are looking forward to being here at next year's event
We are honored to support the Polk Co Veterans Stand-down this weekend. Chp 1979 was detailed/volunteered to do night shift security for all three nights with other great Patriots. Last night kept us going with high winds that settled when the heavy rains kicked in.
Volunteers reported from 15 Sep thru 18 Sep 2016

Focusing on Central Iowa's Women Veterans

1 Sep 16
VA Central Iowa Health Care System (VACIHCS) hosted their annual Mental Health Summit at Camp Dodge with a focus on Women Veterans.  This successful event featured VACIHCS staff showcasing our services with the many outside partners who joined us and a brainstorming session that highlighted what we and the community are doing well in terms of providing mental health services especially to women, how we can improve as a larger collaborative team, and how we can ensure we are connecting Veterans with needed services. A women Veteran shared her story which highlighted the success we can all have when we work together for Veterans.  MOPH advocates on behave of the Veterans to obtain their Service Medals, particularly the Purple Heart, which can assist the Veterans’ Benefits Administration on granting service connected disabilities.  Thank you to The Gold Star Museum for hosting and allowing our participants to enjoy your space.

Veteran Care Fair for Polk County

The Event kicked off with VA and Service Organizations to include the Veterans Council, DAV, MOPH and American Legion along with representatives from the Veterans Benefits Administration and the VA Medical Center.  Congressman David Young took questions and presented to the panel in the question answer session.  Congressman Young even took a few questions especially one with the Veterans Crisis Line where he introduced a bill having the program report to Congress.  For more information contact Congressman David Young's staff thru their website: https://davidyoung.house.gov/

The Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration ceremony with Congressman Leonard Boswell (LTC ret) as the keynote speaker ended with both of them awarded Veteran era Veterans and their families for their sacrifice. 

The half day gave Veterans exposed to Education providers, Jobs prospects, county Veterans Administration, National and State Service Officers, Social Security staff, and other Veterans' support groups.
(above) the panel question and answer session with Cgressman Young.  (Left) Congressman Boswell and Young thanking psrticipants for supporting the Veteran Care Fair at the old AIB campus. 

Iowa Veterans Home hosted the Vietnam Commemorative Ceremony and the Veterans Benefits Administration's Town Hall Meeting

22 Aug 2016
Follow up Article
Vietnam Commemorative Ceremony at the Iowa Veterans Home (IVH) had about 25 Vietnam era Veterans participate. MOPH Chp 861 with Steve and Marian Hyde was well represented. The Director of both the Des Moines VAMC and the VBA Regional Office pinned each Vietnam Veteran in the audience. Other guess speakers included Col King (Ret), Jodie Tymeson, Commandant of the IVH, along with other senior and specialty staff rounded out the event and had every expert on the floor to include Cpt Dan Gannon (Ret) (Iowa Veterans Commission).  The VBA Regional Office came well prepared with two outreach specialist, the Station Supervisor, and a couple from the director's executive staff and of course the director
Dan Gannon 

Joint Military Retiree Appreciation Day (RAD)

18 Aug 16
This year's RAD had approximately 175 attendees Prairie Meadows.  Speakers included Mitzi Hinton (Retirement Services Office), COL Robert King (USANG, Ret)(Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs/Iowa Veterans Cemetary), Mike Vogt (Gold Star Museum), BG Paul Cohen (USAF Ret)(MOAA National Legislative), Gail Graham (VA Medical Benefits), COL Hapgood (Reserve Componet Readiness), Bill Walters (Long Term Care), Barb Roby & Derek Nichols (Social Security) and representatives for Casualty Assistance & ID Cards from Camp Dodge, Delta Dental and Tricare.  Outside the conference room their were representative from Iowa Veterans Cemetry and Funeral Honors, the Healing Wall, American Military Retirees Association, Fort McCoy Retiree Services and myself, Robert Suesakul representing Military Order of the Purple Heart Department of Iowa.

Iowa represented at MOPH National Convention held at Norfolk, VA

Being relatedly a small state with a small percentage of Purple Heart recipients with 19 votes, it is important for us to continue recruiting to increase our votes at National.  Every year we send delegates to National to represent Iowa.  It is important for every member to have input at the Chapter level and forward that to our Department so that we can carry the message to National.  You cannot complain about the organization if you’re not stepping up to the plate and taking a part of the responsibility.

My Department Adjutant reminds me monthly that I’m spreading myself thin, but it is the lack of volunteers and support that has me at odds.  Unlike some of our Vietnam Vets, I’m a Volunteer.  I volunteer for the Service, the Infantry, Airborne, heck I even volunteer to stay in Iraq for two straight years because no one else would.  This formed my 27 year career which I ended up being one of you, when I was discharge against my wishes.

With that, this year’s convention was one of the most important and first of firsts.  Rather good or bad, we few did our best in representing Iowa.  It was Great being with the Order, a fraternal Organization, which I was among the Heroes of our Great Nation.

Memorial Day at Cedar Rapids

Paul Pickart (Chp 777)
On Monday, May 30, 2016, I was previously invited home to Cedar Rapids for their Memorial Day ceremony at the All Veterans Park that included the commemoration of the Purple Heart monument dedicated to all those Purple Heart recipients from Eastern Iowa.
This was a Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School Class of '66 community project.
Over 500 veterans, their families, friends, local celebrities and the (Cedar Rapids) Metro Veterans Council were in attendance.
I was one of the keynote speakers and behind the scene advisor to assist the Jefferson High School committee for the MOPH related great community project.
After wards I was interviewed on KCRG TV Channel 9 and it played on their Tuesday AM morning newscast.  (Can be Livestreamed by going to KCRG.com)
Also Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, Congressman Rob Hogg, members of both the Metro Area Veterans Council Members and the Veteran Memorial Commission came up to do the customary meet and greet.
Very good patriotic event and turnout.
Yes my spouse Dixie and I had to break our many years of attending both the Iowa Veterans Cemetery sunrise ceremony and breakfast at the Gold Star Museum to attend!.

I am attaching a copy of the Memorial day (Monday-May 30th) program that includes the Purple Heart monument dedication and those veteran groups and local dignitaries involved for your review and files..

Marsh & McLennan making a difference in hiring Veterans

Read more
I had the honor of being iinvited to Marsh & McLennan Companies' Mercer Veteran Community Speaker Series.  It is my opinion that this company is investing in our Veterans.  They have teamed up with Home Base Iowa which directs our Veterans to Iowa Works Veteran's Services which will assist our returning Veterans in getting into the work force.

Marsh & McLennan will not only use Veteran's preference, but will give a Veteran an interview if they minimumly qualify, putting the responsibility of that Veteran or Service Member to sell themselfs and do their "homework".

(Photo by Maharry Photography, LLC and courtesy of Mercer)

2016 Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day

6 May 2016
Honorable Terry E. Branstad, Governor of Iowa giving remarks.  The Governor served during the Vietnam era at Fort Bragg, NC as a military policemen
Several MOPH members bear witnessed to the long over due cememony of commemorating a monument to our Vietnam Brothers and Sisters that died too early that were not "killed in action by the enemy", but may have died due to wounds, PTSD, agent orange, illness et certra.  Daughters of the American Revolution gave out pins and a welcome home hug to our Veterans and Iowa Dept of Veterans Affairs published the programs and gave our bumper stickers.
Jasper County bused their Veterans to the event.  Seen here posing in a group photo.
The Iowa Christian Academy 4th Grade "Young Patriots" warming up for the event.  These young Patriots not only sang several patriotic melodies, but signed the Gettysburg Address for our hearing impaired audience.  A Grand Performance.
COL Robert King (Ret) together with CPT Dan Gannon (not shown) helped make this possible.  Here COL King is giving introductions
(Left) The Vietnam Memorial for those who died other than KIA uncovered besides the path leading to the Vietnam War Monument Wall on the Iowa Capitol Grounds

Purple Heart Run

Combat Wounded, Disabled Veteran to Crisscross the Nation in specially adapted Ford
F-150, to bring awareness of the costs of freedom.

There are an estimated 1.8 million Purple Heart recipients, combat wounded service members who have transitioned back into civilian life. They have made great sacrifices to ensure our freedoms but often go unrecognized.  The road to recovery and reintegration into their communities can be a long and difficult struggle for our nation’s wounded warriors and their families.

The truck was given to LCpl Nicholas Thom

Purple Heart Run
Purple Heart Run Route
LCpl Nicholas Thom Bio
MOPH National and State Service Officers attended Faces of Agent Orange

It was a great turn out of Veterans to this event held at HyVee Hall Saturday, 23 April 2016.  An invite was set to all our Congressmen and Senators and only Joni Ernst set a representative.  This event was about the children and now grandchildren of our Service Members who were exposed to toxins.  We are just at the tip of a very large iceberg

 Women's Outreach Spring Fling

Several female Veterans meet at the Iowa Veterans Home on April 20 for a Women's Outreach Spring Fling. The women learned about IVH, heard inspiring words from one of their own, played games, learned about good nutrition, fun facts about bee keeping as well as heard and saw exapmles from the Local Veterans Creative Arts Competition. Everyone seemed to have a great time and walked away with new friends and new ideas.

Knoxville CBOC groundbreaking Ceremony

Thursday, 7 April 2016 around 11:00 at the cross roads of North Lincoln Street and Long Lane Drive, the ground breaking ceremony, with a little rain, was completed just under 20 minutes. Approximately 35 people, to include Jack Spaur (777) and Robert Suesakul representing 777 and as the MOPH Dept Service Officer were present, under the provided cover and assorted umbrellas. Acting Director Susan Martin, Josh Hausman of Knoxville LLC, Ken McCormick of Graham Construction, Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch and Mike Kuhn the Marion County Veterans Affairs broke ground after their remarks.

Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium

Annual Veterans Day Program, 11 November 2015, 11:00 a.m., Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center/Veterans Memorial, 833 5th Avenue, Des Moines, (Polk) IA.  This event included representatives from all Veterans Service Organizations. Presiding at the ceremony will be Robert King, Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs. Guest speakers includes Teri Beer, Director of the Des Moines Regional Veterans Administration and Senator Grassley.
Robert Suesakul, Laurie Suesakul, Senator Grassley and Christy Johnson (Suesakul) Robert's and Laurie's daughter who interned for Senator Grassley in 2012.

The Costs of War and the American Veteran

I got to participate at the Fort Des Moines Museum that was hosting The Costs of War and the American Veteran on Friday, 30 October 2015.
A Roundtable Discussion with Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender (ret.), former chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and Delbert Spurlock, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army during the Reagan Administration -- focusing on our veterans’ sacrifices and the need to better utilize their contributions as citizens by re-integrating them fully into our economy and society.

I was part of one of many Spurlock's programs that enhanced many enlisted personnel in the Army in the 1980's. He believes he was appointed by President Reagan due to Reagan's assignment at Fort Des Moines. Without making this a novel, our World is small.   Robert Suesakul Chp 777  Dept Service Officer

Veterans Standdown at Des Moines
​18 - 20 Sep 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa — The metro’s homeless population will get some help this weekend.
Saturday, Polk County Veterans Affairs will take part in a Homeless Stand-Down.
The event is intended for anyone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Participants will receive tents, sleeping bags, and other essentials. Organizers hope it will bring attention to the problem in the metro.
It began at 5:00 p.m. Friday at the state capitol and runs through the weekend.
MOPH Member Robert Suesakul (Security Main “Veteran’s” Entrance) and VFW Member Jake Gruber (Grounds Staff) at the Homeless Veterans Stand Down 2015 on the Capitol Grounds across from the Lucas Building.

 Veterans Appreciation Day at Madison County

Madison County Veterans Affairs Executive Director coordinated a Veterans Appreciation Day on the same day as the Iowa State/Iowa Game, 12 September 2015.  It was held at the Winterset local VFW Post 8142 who provided a detail to assist with set up, food service and take down.  VFW Commander Tim Pierce and Quartermaster George Berry ensured the support was seamless.  The partners included Disabled American Veterans (DAV) on all levels; National, Department of Iowa and Des Moines Post 20, The Vet Center, Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) and Veterans Administration Health Care outreach program from Des Moines VAMC.  Veterans came in with questions about Medical Co-pay to setting up their claim thru the VA.  Madison Veterans were informed in advance to bring in their DD 214 and other supporting documents to verify certain services.  Lunch was provided to assist Veterans participation and was plentiful.  Doors were open from 11:00 to 4:15 when the Veteran participation thinned out. 
 Madison Veterans Executive Director, Thaddeus Smith, on the right and Robert Suesakul, Dept of Iowa MOPH Service Officer

Veterans Administration Volunteer Service Award Ceremony

   On 26 June 2015 the Central Iowa Health Care System Veterans Administration Volunteer Services (VAVS) conducted a recognition ceremony at the Botanical Center in Des Moines at 1030.  The Acting Director, Sandra Horsman along with her staff and Bart Quick and Laura Kendrick of VAVS handed out the awards along with thank you gifts to the Volunteers that were present.  This Ceremony is for the 2014 fiscal year which is from 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014.  Drivers were not at this ceremony since theirs took place at the Voluneer Drivers Recognition Day.
The following MOPH Members rec’d the following awards:
Robert Suesakul          100 Hrs, 300 Hrs. and 500 Hrs. Awards
Jacob Moody               1000 Hrs Award
Charles Carlson           500 Hrs in FY 2014
David Hill                      VAVS 20 Year Pin

Operation Engage America

20 June 2015
DES MOINES, Iowa – An event only in its second year saw about 300 veterans and other members of the community come out to the Iowa State Capitol Saturday to connect with over 24 groups dedicated to helping treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Operation Engage America started in California, and moved to Iowa last year, when Lisa Naslund and her husband brought the organization to the state. Naslund’s son, U.S. Army Sgt. Dillon Naslund, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered from PTSD. Naslund ultimately lost her son to the illness.
Operation Engage America brings local organizations that treat PTSD in number of ways to one place. It gives veterans – and anyone suffering from PTSD – a one-stop-shop to find what resources are available for them. With over 24 organizations showing up to today’s event, Naslund says there’s something for everyone.
“As parents of a child who suffered from PTSD, the biggest issue is just not knowing what’s out there for you in your own community,” she said. “You’re not alone, there are thousands suffering with you. And today showed so many how much support there is for them here.”
Naslund says last year, in its inaugural year, the event brought out about 140 participants, with about half the amount of groups that showed up this year. Doubling their group and participant involvement is a huge accomplishment, Naslund said, despite the distraction outside Saturday regarding a potential bomb threat. 
If you or a loved one suffer from PTSD and weren’t able to come to Operation Engage America’s event Saturday, Naslund says to visit their website, where you can get all the resources and information offered.
Lisa Naslund 
Dave Campbell, VFW Post 9662 and Robert Suesakul, MOPH Chp 777

World War II Memorial Day Remembrance

Patriotic Music Selections, Rifle Detail Memorial Salute Tribute to WWII Veterans/Taps
The Freedom Flame
The purpose of this memorial is to honor all those who served so valiantly during WWII and to provide posterity with knowledge about the compelling reason for the USA’s involvement in the war…. the preservation of freedom around the world.
The centerpiece of the "Freedom Flame" monument is a fifty-foot-high stainless steel stylized flame. Leading up to the flame is "Freedom Walk," a walkway through time, beginning with Pearl Harbor. The plaza floor is comprised of a global map showing the five major theaters of operation. The "Wall of Memories" is an appropriate backdrop for the Freedom Flame.

Memorial Day Program at the Veterans Memorial

The annual Memorial Day Program in Des Moines will be held on May 25, 2015 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center/Veterans Memorial beginning at 11:00 a.m. The convention center is located at 833 5th Avenue, Des Moines. This event will include the Massing of the Colors ceremony. Presiding at the ceremony will be Col. Robert King (Ret), Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs. Guest speaker will be United States Congressman David Young.
Every year before, I’ve seen a decline of Veterans’ Groups participation.  I can remember at least 12 different Organization represented…this year there was three.  American Legion, AMVETS and MOPH.  1979 showed up with their colors, but only the Welfare Officer, Clyde Beveridge showed.  I carried the 1979 colors in order to have MOPH properly represented.

Iowa Gold Star Military Museum free Memorial Day event

 The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum hosted its annual Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 25.
The event went from 5 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the museum located on the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center at 7105 Northwest 70th Avenue in Johnston, Iowa.
A complimentary breakfast was served from 6-9 a.m. at the Camp Dodge Pool Pavilion east of the museum. The breakfast included sausage gravy on toast, "Army" coffee, "Bug Juice" and granola bars.
Throughout the event there were vintage and modern military vehicles and equipment on display, a vintage military aircraft flyover, and re-enactors from the Civil War, World War I and II, Korean War and Vietnam War.
  1979 requested a table for this event from the Gold Star Museum for MOPH for next year.  Everyone had Poppies…I would like to change it up to Violas.  Here I’m talking with a member of the Urbandale Post 9668.  I was impressed on the amount of traffic at the Gold Star.
Bud Beveridge (left), Don Pietzman (center) and Iowa Dept Cdr Paul Pickart (right) are ready to rock n roll for the Beaverdale Fall Festival parade on Sep 14, 2013.

Purple Heart Day at the Gold Star Museum

(Tony Powers, left & Doug McKennon, right at the PH Day observance on Camp Dodge August 2013) Tony: "There I was in an inverted dive..." Doug: "No...no...wait...I got one better..."
Bill Campbell and Jerry Meek discuss current events while in the chow line at the Purple Heart Day observance at Camp Dodge, IA August 2013.
Jerry Meek, Don Delamore, Tony Powers, and Steve Hyde at the Purple Heart Day observance at Camp Dodge, IA August 2013.
Author 2013.Tony Powers, Viet Nam combat vet and Purple Heart recipient, was the keynote speaker for the Purple Heart Day observance at Camp Dodge
Don Delamore, Chap 861 Adjustant, presenting VAVS check to Mike Foster at the Iowa City VAMC on June 13, 2013
The annual Viola Drive was held on Nov 11, 2012 at the Marshalltown Hy Vee store. Pictured are: left, Steve Hyde (Chap Cdr), center, Marian Hyde (Chap 777 Aux), right Duane Otto (IA Dept Sr Vice Cdr)
On Veteran's Day 2012, NE Iowa Chapter 861 presented a "Special Recognition" plaque to Ric Anderson, Store Director for HyVee in Marshalltown, IA. For the past several years, Ric has provided exclusive access to his store for us to conduct our annual Viola Drive. Pictured are: left, Duane Otto (PCC), center, Ric Anderson, right, Steve Hyde (Chap Cdr).

Our members are even allowed to go to Branson, MO for a Purple Heart Event

I attended the four day Purple Heart Hand-In-Hand event in Branson, MO last week. I had a wonderful time. About 100 PH recipients were there and the whole town rolled out the red carpet. They even held a free fishing tournament for us.
Chapter 861 Viloa sales Nov 11, 2011 at Marshalltown, IA Hy Vee. (L-R) Marian Hyde Chap 777 Aux, Don Delamore 861 & PDC, Duane Otto 861 Cdr & IA Dept Jr Vice Cdr, Mike Clancey Chap 861, Paul Pickart IA Dept Sr Vice Cdr & 777 Cdr, and Steve Hyde Chap 861 Adjutant.
Presenting the Leadership Award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart to ROTC Cadet Lorinser, A great award to a great Cadet, he is also a Purple Heart recipient.